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Duquesne Light, STA and Pine-Richland Celebrate Electric Bus Pilot Program

sustainability club members stand in front of a school busOctober 25, 2023

In recognition of Student Transportation of America’s (STA) first electric bus pilot program, which added three electric buses to Pine-Richland’s fleet in May, representatives from STA, Duquesne Light and Pine-Richland School District gathered to talk about the importance of transitioning to electric vehicles at the STA garage on Tuesday, October 24.

STA works with 30 school districts in Pennsylvania and chose Pine-Richland for its pilot program because of the district’s commitment to sustainability, remarked Paul Fichner, senior vice president of operations for STA. Sarah Olexsak, senior manager of transportation electrification at Duquesne Light said that the electric bus charger at STA’s Gibsonia garage is the first charging station for buses in the Pittsburgh area. The charging station was provided by Duquesne Light through their Community and Fleet Charging Program.

Dr. Brian Miller, superintendent of Pine-Richland School District, introduced the district’s six-school sustainability club and noted that sustainability continues to be one of the district’s key initiatives. 

Nineteen members of the six-school sustainability club attended the event to learn more about the electric buses and take a brief ride in an electric bus to and from Pine-Richland High School. Club members, spanning 2nd through 12th grade, had an opportunity to look under the hood of one of the buses, learn about safety features and the charging process, and ask questions of drivers and of Kevin Barnhart, general manager of STA. 

Representative of Pine-Richland’s focus on sustainability, members of the six-school sustainability club coordinate initiatives at their individual schools and collaborate as a six-school group to share their successes and brainstorm ideas. Students have launched a number of initiatives this year, including increasing student-to-student communication about ways to make a sustainable impact through signs, morning announcements and videos regarding recycling efforts. Students have also proposed a variety of art projects that would use recycled materials and are partnering with Pine and Richland Townships to help plan an Earth Day event in the spring to be held at Pine Community Park. Learn more about the district’s sustainability efforts at https://www.pinerichland.org/Domain/1434